Analysis

The idea that we build something much better than capitalism had been around for generations but, 90 years ago in Russia, for the first time an alliance of workers and peasants made a revolution that was to frame the course of history ever since
In a striking piece of political theatre, on November 5 federal workplace ogre Joe Hockey promised to resign from a re-elected Howard ministry if the government changed Work Choices (significantly). “They can run all the scare campaigns they want”, Hockey said, “but the bottom line is if we are making any substantial changes to our laws, then I will resign.”
Les Malezer, chair of the UN Global Indigenous Caucus, which was responsible for drafting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, spoke to a packed meeting in the Redfern community centre on October 28. “Our wealth is that of our Indigenous values: land, culture and spirit”, he said. “Not in assimilation, not in power, not in dollars, not in telling our people what they should do, or running organisations that do the same. Our wealth is in our lands, territories and resources. And the forced theft of these means that there must be reparation.”
The Victorian Socialist Alliance’s lead candidate for the Senate, Margarita Windisch, gave this speech to the monthly meeting of the Melbourne branch of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).
In the lead up to the federal election, your guide to what’s really happening behind the spin of the official campaign.
On October 31, Victorian planning minister Justin Madden released a report that gave the environmental green light for the dredging of Port Phillip Bay. Channel deepening, which is tied to port expansion, is essential according to the Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC) because of the bay’s shallowness. Opponents argue that the risks are too great and that alternatives exist, but the Labor state government has made it clear that it wants the project to proceed.
Almost 90 Western Australian construction workers are due to suffer fines of up to $22,000 each on November 5, after admitting at an October 24 court hearing to taking “unlawful” industrial action in February last year. The workers’ “crime” was to take part in a 400-person strong strike in February 2006 on the city tunnel section of the Perth-Mandurah rail line to demand the reinstatement of their elected health and safety union representative Peter Ballard, who had been sacked by building company Leighton-Kumagai for insisting on maintaining safe working conditions.
The scientists are horrified. But not being media-savvy publicists, they generally leave their shocking findings in scientific journals. The politicians quote cautious statements issued by scientific committees early in the decade, and worry about scaring off corporate funding. The business executives look for the chance of new profits, and hire public relations experts to advise them on cultivating a green image.
The connections between water scarcity, power generation and the federal government’s promotion of nuclear power are worth reflecting on with National Water Week held from October 21-27.
The Big Melt is a new report from Australian climate campaigner David Spratt of Carbon Equity. It warns that the latest data shows the effects of climate change are speeding up, with real dangers of the setting in of self-perpetuating, deepening “runaway” global warming.

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